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Call of Duty 4 Hands-on Preview

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Preview

Developer: Infinity Ward

Call of Duty, is one of the treasured few titles which combines all the elements gamers love into one sweet and slightly gritty gameplay experience. Intensely cinematic presentation, good graphics and a fluid singleplayer game with excellent balancing and awesome A.I.

The games are excellently designed and show that Infinity Ward is a developer which knows what it’s doing. Few games can even get away with using respawning enemies, but the Call of Duty series not only gets away with it, but does it well.

With the latest title in the series, which I got a chance to play at the recent Microsoft Xmas Showcase, Infinity Ward has proved one more thing; that it isn’t afraid to change. The fourth instalment in Call of Duty could have just carried on in the World War 2 setting, the same as the previous games, but it didn’t. It chose to gamble. It didn’t gamble a little bit either by going back to World War 1 or any other ye olde war.

Call of Duty 4 Hands-on Preview Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
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Oh no. Call of Duty 4 gambled big, taking a new subtitle to proclaim its bravery for all to see; Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Whether or not the move will still offer fans the same furiously dramatic and illusionary teamplay elements as past Call of Duty games is still too early to tell, unless you’ve got an inside scoop. Thankfully, we’ve got two full scoops of chocolate flavoured hands-on from both the new singleplayer PC demo and our original look on the Xbox 360. Want to know how it tastes? All you have to do is read on.

Satellite Phone of Honour

The major difference between Modern Warfare and past Call of Duty games is the more contemporary setting which not only puts players in the present day, but thrusts them straight into an involving fictional storyline about a Russian nationalist who wants to see Russia become a dominant superpower once more.

Yeah, that whole thing. It isn’t particularly groundbreaking when you break it down and has been the plot of just about every spy film ever, but the story soon gathers complexity and even the use of fictional characters is a radical departure from the norm for this historically accurate series.

Call of Duty 4 Hands-on Preview Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
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Without giving anything away, the story features said Russian crackpot, a one-armed millionaire by the name of Anton Volkov, funding a group of terrorists and trying to return Russia to Soviet times by staging attacks from both Russia and the Middle East. The game is told from the point of view of two characters which players must switch between, something common to the Call of Duty series where players are hopped around between all the ‘interesting’ campaigns.

Players get a chance to play as a total of three characters. There’s the British SAS operative, ‘Soap’ McTavish, who must oppose Volkov on his native soil, and Sergeant Jackson of the US Marines. The third character is confirmed to be a second SAS agent whose name may be familiar to series aficionados. Lieutenant Price is confirmed to be an ancestor of Captain Price, the only character to appear in every Call of Duty game thus far.

Price’s mission is confirmed to be part of a prequel story set 15 years before the main bulk of the game, where Price must try to assassinate Volkov. Admittedly in our hands on we only got to play as the US Marines character, Sergeant Jackson, but even the idea of a in-game prequel story was enough to tantalise our gaming taste buds.